Leading Senegal Opposition Figure  Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Gendarme’s Phone


LAGOS JULY 29TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Leading Senegalese opposition politician Ousmane Sonko was arrested on Friday for allegedly stealing a gendarme’s phone and posting a “subversive” message.

The firebrand politician, a thorn in the flesh of President Macky Sall, has faced a number of legal woes, which he says are aimed at keeping him out of politics.

His sentencing last month in a moral corruption case sparked fatal clashes that left 16 dead according to the government, 24 according to Amnesty International, and 30 according to Sonko’s PASTEF party.

Senegal’s public prosecutor said the politician had stolen the mobile phone of a gendarme whose vehicle had broken down near Sonko’s home on Friday and issued a subversive message on social media.

On Friday afternoon, Sonko had said on social media that security forces stationed outside his home were filming him.

He said he had taken one of the phones and demanded the images be deleted — a request he claimed was denied.

“I ask the people to stand ready to face this endless abuse,” Sonko wrote.

The prosecutor said the politician had “for some time” committed “criminally reprehensible” acts, and that an investigation into “various counts of offenses and crimes” had been ordered.

Sonko’s party said he had been “brutally arrested” and called on Senegalese people to “constitutionally resist these abuses”.

One of Sonko’s lawyers, Cheikh Koureyssi Ba, said on Facebook that Sonko was already being interrogated.

Another lawyer, Abdoulaye Tall, told local media that Sonko was in police custody.

On Friday evening, people were gathering outside Sonko’s Dakar home, an AFP journalist reported.

On June 1, Sonko was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for morally corrupting a young woman, which makes him ineligible to stand in next year’s presidential election.

He was blocked in his home by a security detail between May 28 and July 24.

Because he was tried in absentia, a retrial would likely be ordered if he were arrested in relation to that case.

The government has previously said he could be arrested over that affair at any time.

Friday’s arrest does not appear to be related to the moral corruption case, however.

In another affair, an appeals court on May 8 gave him a six-month suspended sentence.

A former civil servant, Sonko rose to prominence in presidential elections in 2019, coming third after a campaign that took aim at President Sall and the country’s ruling elite.

He has portrayed Sall as a would-be dictator, while the president’s supporters call him a rabble-rouser who has sown instability.

Sall in early July eased tensions in the normally stable West African nation by announcing he would not seek a controversial third mandate, following months of ambiguity and speculation about his intentions.


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Posted by on Jul 29 2023. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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